Given the brevity of this segment, it does a reasonable job of conveying the basic findings of a study appearing in The Lancet: that women taking birth control pills have a reduced risk of ovarian cancer, and the protection persists even after the pill is stopped.
This is a significant study whose findings are not particularly controversial, so a simple description of the findings is adequate.
Even in such a brief segment, however, viewers would have been better served with:
Costs of the pills may not be significant, but because the implication of the story is that women may now and in the future consider oral contraceptives because of this newly-found benefit, cost is an important consideration – and was not covered.
The report mentions that taking the pill for five years or more can reduce ovarian cancer risk by half, and that protection can last a lifetime. This is an overly simple summary of the results.
Viewers would have been better served by a few more details, such as how many women per 1,000 taking the pill would be expected to get ovarian cancer compared to those who did not. It is not difficult to include a line about absolute risk information.
The segment properly mentions the birth control pill’s occasional side effects of blood clots and a slight added risk of breast cancer.
The Lancet study (summary here) upon which the segment is based is a meta-analysis of many epidemiological studies conducted worldwide over several decades. While the broadcast does not provide much detail about the methodology, it describes it adequately.
The facts used to describe ovarian cancer–22,000 cases per year and 15,000 deaths–are accurate and dramatic. But without context, they may exaggerate the relative impact of ovarian cancer. Nonetheless, we’ll give the story the benefit of the doubt on this.
The segment quotes one independent expert from the American Cancer Society twice. Another source should have been used.
The segment focuses on findings about oral contraception and cancer risk, so discussion of other options for birth control or ovarian cancer risk reduction are not necessary.
The anchor lead-in reminds us that birth control pills are "widely used by a lot of women."
Birth control pills are widely used, so no claims of novelty are made.
There is no evidence the segment relied solely or largely on a news release.